How to add lone working into your risk assessment

There are a few reasons why you might need to factor lone working into your risk assessment, where you didn’t need to before. This could be because of a reduction in staff numbers, or a move into a more flexible way of working. 

If you’re having to revisit your risk assessment and consider where lone-working fits into it, we offer our advice on how best to do this. 

We’ve seen different organisations approach their lone working risk assessment in different ways. They might add it as a separate line, or, as we would recommend, address it throughout the document. This is because when you look over the general risks to your workers through the lens of a lone worker, the likelihood and severity of certain risks will be greater. Here are just two examples

  • Violence: an employee is more likely to be attacked if they’re on their own rather than in a group of people.
  • Ill-health: Similarly, if someone falls ill, it will take longer to get medical attention, leaving more time for their condition to worsen. 

Adding lone-working onto an existing risk assessment labels it more as a risk, in the same way you might for a slip, trip or fall. But really, you should think about assessing the risks and then how loan working can affect them. 

For example, if your employees are working from height, the likelihood probably isn’t affected whether they’re working alone or not, but the severity is, as it will take longer to get medical assistance. Shifting this perspective offers a stark view of the risks that are already there. 

When you come to your control measures, you might then look at something like a panic alarm or welfare checks to alert others that something is wrong. 

Need some pointers? 

Visit Step 1 in our 5 Steps Resources to access different risk assessment templates to cover a wide range of lone working scenarios.

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